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Zambian female military officer jailed for burning niece with hot spoon

AFRICA
By Mireri Junior and Agencies | January 23rd 2021

Lieutenant Mildred Luwaile (left) with a police officer after her sentence at a Lusaka court on January 22. [Courtesy]

A court in Zambia on Friday sentenced a Zambia Air Force female officer to six years in prison for torturing and assaulting her 11-year-old niece who was under her custody. 

During the trial, the police officer who arrested Lieutenant Mildred Luwaile told the Lusaka Magistrate Court how traumatic it was for him to record a statement from the 11-year-old girl that was physically abused.

Constable Frank Wakumelo, told Magistrate Nthandose Chabala that Lieutenant Luwaile used hot spoons and knives to inflict pain on the girl who was in her care as her niece.

On March 25, 2019, in Lusaka, Luwaileis said to have assaulted a child under the age of 16 and occasioned her actual bodily harm, charges she denies.

However, magistrate Nthandose Chabala found her with a case to answer and placed her on defence.

In her defence, Luwaile testified that her sister requested that she starts keeping the victim so that she could complete school in the city because the husband wanted to marry her off when she reached grade eight.

Luwaile said she took custody of the niece in 2017 when she was 10 years old up to April 2019 and at the time, her son was four months old.

She said she enjoyed a mother and daughter relationship.

“She was a cheerful girl, shy and she did not speak much. Like any other parent, I would discipline her by talking to her and I remember spanking her twice,” Luwaile said.

When asked by her lawyer Bellington Mosha to comment on allegations that she deliberately burnt the victim with hot water, Luwaile declined.

Burnt herself

Further asked what caused the burns on the child, Luwaile said the victim burnt herself after dropping a bucket of hot water.

She said when the victim burnt herself, she was with her son who started crying.

Luwaile narrated how she handed the son to her husband so she could attend to the victim.

“I found her in the bathroom changing and asked her to show me where it was hurting. She showed me her knee. I got cold water and poured it on her knee, got Colgate and rubbed on the knee. The following day I noticed some bruises,” she said.

When put to her that the victim told the court that it was her who burnt her, Luwaile said it was not true.

“She was lying. It is possible for a child to lie when they are scared of something. She had a tendency of fabricating lies,” she said.

Luwaile when cross-examined by State Advocate Bob Mwewa who asked if she took the victim to the hospital in relation to the injury that she sustained on her knee, she said she did not.

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